Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/2 review

Something of a latter-day design classic, this Zeiss Milvus lens comes in a full metal jacket

(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

With such a high price tag and the Zeiss name, this was always going to be a high-quality lens, but it’s a shame it doesn’t push it a little bit further. With sharpness consistently acceptable rather than mind-blowing, the Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/2 struggles to justify its price tag against more affordable rivals. It’s a very, very, very good lens, there’s no question – but is that enough? In this day and age, perhaps not.


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    Premium, all-metal construction

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    Smooth focusing action

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    Full weather seals


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    Sharpness good but unexceptional

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The Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/2 is a manual-focus lens with no autofocus facility. It’s beautifully styled, immaculately engineered with a metal barrel, and feels very robust. Although it’s only slightly bigger than the competing Canon 35mm f/2 lens, it’s more than twice the weight at 702g. Similar to other competitors like the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD and Canon’s up-market 35mm f/1.4, it features weather-seals that include a rubber gasket around the mounting plate. 

Zone focusing is made simple thanks to a long-travel, silky-smooth focus ring that comes complete with a distance scale and depth of field markings for f/4, f/8, f/16 and f/22. Even so, without microprism or split-screen focusing aids in DSLRs, accurate manual focusing can be tricky. The Milvus has built-in electronics to light up the focus confirmation lamp in the camera’s viewfinder. Full aperture control is also available from the camera body.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.